How to Write a Job Advertisement That Attracts The Best Candidates


Hiring the best candidates for your job openings, and organisation, is critical for continued business success. However, hiring the wrong candidates can be toxic and costly…

The Harvard Business Review estimates that approximately 80% of employee turnover is attributed to poor hiring decisions, and high levels of turnover harm organisational productivity as well as your financial bottom line. Some estimates suggest that it can cost up to one third of an employee’s salary to replace them, and these costs only increase at higher levels of the organisational hierarchy.

Beyond the broad impact of poor hiring decisions, you must consider the effects of a tightening labour market. Three-quarters of Irish employers can expect hiring challenges in 2017 as the improved conditions of the labour market have made it difficult to tap into top-level talent.

If you want to minimise these risks and find the best candidates for your next job opening, you need to standout on job search websites and in the descriptions of your advertisements. This is something we do every day here at FlexSource, so let’s take a closer look at how to write a job advertisement that will ensure you find the best talent.


Step 1: Know What Your Ideal Candidates Are Looking For

A tight labour market shifts leverage from the employer back to the employee. As such, it is crucial for your organisation to know exactly what your ideal candidates are looking for.

Organisations have traditionally assumed candidates are all looking for higher pay, but evidence shows something quite different - particularly for younger employees. In a recent Glassdoor survey, 57% of respondents claimed that benefits and perks were one of their top priorities in deciding where to work.

High-profile companies have taken notice; Netflix allows all of their employees one year of parental leave, Airbnb hands out a $2,000 travel stipend to each member of their staff, and Amazon is tinkering with the idea of a 30-hour work week.

Your company may not have the financial support to offer similar packages, but plenty of great employee benefits do not require financial burdens. Think creatively about what your candidates really want and how you can articulate that to them in a compelling job advertisement.


Step 2: Write an Informative and Compelling Headline

I bet you’ve heard something like this before…

“Our business is looking for talented self-starters to join our team of highly-motivated players.”

No matter what job site you decide to search on, headlines such as these will greet you almost immediately. Besides their cliché nature, they fail to inform candidates as to what the job is, or why they should care about it.

It’s important to use the real estate of your headline to really stick out to candidates, and educate them appropriately about the opportunity available. Consider this your reverse-elevator pitch: you want to sell yourself to candidates in order to try and get them to do the same to you.

Here is an example headline from the FlexSource job search. You can see it uses the limited word count to quickly portray the advertised role, experience level and location:


Step 3: Offer a Brief Summary

After you have enticed potential candidates into your listing to read further, be comprehensive but concise at the same time. Talk about the job responsibilities, desired qualifications, required education levels, preferred experience, and anything else relevant to your organisational needs.  Make sure to highlight any important deadlines or dates for the job posting in this space as well.

But before confronting a candidate with all of that information, offer a brief summary of the job at the top of your advertisement. Remember that your best possible candidates are probably tight for time and want a shortcut to the most important information. So give them that shortcut up front, and entice them to keep reading.

We include a brief summary of all of our job listings at the top of the page, like the “Forklift Operative” example below:


Step 4: Tell your Brand Story

In Contagious, author and Wharton Professor Jonah Berger notes six of the steps brand content goes through before it becomes widespread and memorable. Telling your brand story is the sixth and arguably most important step in the contagious process.

Human beings have a rich cultural history of connecting with stories. So use your job advertisement to tell a condensed and compelling brand story - include your goals, values, ethics, and overall mission. Help the candidate experience what it would be like to work for you, and inspire them with your brand’s journey and originality.


Step 5: Paint a Picture of the Future for Both Parties

Think about what your candidate is likely to ask you in the first interview. Sure, they’ll ask about day-to-day tasks, how you got to where you are today, and maybe where the coffee is hidden. But they’re almost certain to ask about where you want to take the organisation in the future and how they fit into that broader picture. Make sure to include this in your job posting to attract the best, most aligned candidates.



Hiring the best candidates is no easy adventure. The tightening labour market combined with changes to candidates’ preferences, makes for a shifting landscape without a predetermined map.

By utilising this five-step guide to crafting a job advertisement, you can ensure a uniform process that informs, attracts, and retains the highest quality candidates to your open positions.